Saturday, February 19, 2022

On Demand from the Folger Shakespeare Library: The Poets of Alice James Books




O.B. Hardison Poetry Series

Writing the Past to Right the Future:
The Poets of Alice James Books

with Shara McCallum and Tamiko Beyer

in a live Zoom reading

Monday, March 7, at 7:30pm (ET)


“The force of this collection lies in its ability to graciously share painful truths—burdens inherited by the descendants of enslaved Africans, and the strong tide of societal erasure, the fierce momentum sustained through generations to bury the facts, though they continuously demand to be reckoned with.” — Rooja Mohassey in a review of No Ruined Stone in the Adroit Journal


On Monday, March 7, 2022, at 7:30pm ET, the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series celebrates Women's History Month by highlighting two poets from Alice James Books: Shara McCallum and Tamiko Beyer.

Both poets released collections in 2021. McCallum’s No Ruined Stone explored an alternate history about Scottish poet Robert Burns, taking him to Jamaica and exposing him to the horrors of slavery. Beyer’s Last Daysuses poetic forms like the tanku and the haibun to engage her ancestors and contemplate contemporary changes in the environment. They both use poetry to interrogate the past, the present, and question the future.

This reading is co-sponsored with Alice James Books, which was founded as a feminist press and is committed to collaborating with literary artists of excellence who might otherwise go unheard. Alice James Books produces, promotes, and distributes their work which often engages the public on important social issues. 

Together with Alice James Books, the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series will create a virtual reading that explores the work of these poets and engages the community about the power of history and the power to change.

This reading will be followed by a moderated conversation where audience members can also ask their own questions.

Purchase tickets by clicking below or by contacting the Box Office at 202.544.7077 or by email at



A Poem by Shara McCallum


No Ruined Stone
by Shara McCallum

May 2018: for my grandmother

When the dead return
they will come to you in dream
and in waking, will be the bird
knocking, knocking against glass, seeking
a way in, will masquerade
as the wind, its voice made audible
by the tongues of leaves, greedily
lapping, as the waves’ self-made fugue
is a turning and returning, the dead
will not then nor ever again
desert you, their unrest
will be the coat cloaking you,
the farther you journey
from them the more
distance will maw in you,
time and place gulching
when the dead return and demand
accounting, wanting
everything you have to give and nothing
will quench or unhunger them
as they take all you make as offering.
Then tell you to begin again.


Poem copyright ©2021 by Shara McCallum, “No Ruined Stone” from No Ruined Stone (Alice James Books, 2021.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher.


Folger Events Now Available on Demand


Autumn Leaves: An improvisation in poetry and jazz with pianist Cyrus Chestnut and poets Lenard D. Moore and Kyle Dargan; Now Available On Demand

Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and the Dutch House delivers the 2021 Eudora Welty Lecture, Now Available on-demand




We are deeply grateful to have you as a part of the Folger community. If you are able, we hope you will consider making a gift today to help sustain the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series and programs like it. 





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